MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Nov. 11, 2020

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Stringer Renews Call to Restart Lagging NYC Capital Program

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer (Photo credit: Thomas Good, CC BY-SA 4.0)
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

Last Monday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) calling on him to restart the New York City capital program.

In March, the Mayor put most City capital projects on hold, aside from those related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in the delay of $4.2 billion worth of capital projects, including $1 billion in affordable housing projects.

Although Stringer recognizes the urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic, he insisted that the City cannot afford to continue to postpone these capital projects. His letter urges de Blasio to release an Adopted Budget capital commitment plan to enhance our infrastructure and revitalize our economy.

“Stopping the capital program has consequences that outweigh any short-term savings that might be achieved,” wrote Stringer. “Continued capital investment is critical to maintaining our assets in a state of good repair and meeting the service needs of our City now and in the future, to promoting economic recovery, and to providing opportunities to build wealth for women and communities of color.”

Read the full letter here.

House Committee Chairs Direct White House and Federal Agencies to Preserve Documents

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (Photo credit:
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney

Yesterday, a coalition of House Committee Chairs sent a flood of letters directing the White House and more than 50 federal agencies to preserve documents relevant to congressional subpoenas and investigations.

Among the letters’ signers were Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens), Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn) and Small Business Committee Chair Nydia Velázquez (D-LES, Brooklyn, Queens). The letters direct the Administration to comply with the Presidential Records Act and the Federal Records Act; both mandate the preservation of documents concerning inquiries and investigations that took place during the 116th Congress.

“Over the last four years, the Administration obstructed numerous congressional investigations by refusing to provide responsive information,” the Chairs wrote.  “You are obligated to ensure that any information previously requested by Congress—and any other information that is required by law to be preserved—is saved and appropriately archived in a manner that is easily retrievable.”

De Blasio Announces New Mental Health Teams to Respond to Mental Health Crises

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: William Alatriste)
Mayor Bill de Blasio

Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced the creation of new Mental Health Teams to serve as 911 respondents in high-risk communities.

Currently, NYPD officers and FDNY Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) respond to nearly all 911 calls, regardless of the circumstances. Beginning in Feb. 2021, however, new Mental Health Teams of health professionals and crisis workers will be the default respondents to mental health emergencies in two high-risk precincts. The teams will use their expertise to de-escalate emergency situations, sparing the police from having to take on that responsibility.

“One in five New Yorkers struggle with a mental health condition. Now, more than ever, we must do everything we can to reach those people before crisis strikes,” said de Blasio. “For the first time in our city’s history, health responders will be the default responders for a person in crisis, making sure those struggling with mental illness receive the help they need.”

Espaillat Reminds New Yorkers of Open Healthcare Plan Enrollment

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (Photo credit: U.S. House Office of Photography)
U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) released a statement reminding New Yorkers that the open enrollment period for 2021 health coverage has officially begun.

The period began on Nov. 1 and will run until Dec. 15. Espaillat decided to issue the reminder in light of the current Supreme Court battle over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – which, depending on how the court rules, could cost millions of New Yorkers their healthcare.

“During this COVID pandemic, which continues to worsen, the access of Americans to quality, affordable health coverage is more important than ever,” said Espaillat. “Being uninsured during a pandemic puts people at an enormous risk of losing their health and financial security. Millions of Americans, including constituents of New York’s 13th congressional district, who would qualify for significant financial help if they enrolled in an ACA Health Insurance Marketplace, yet are still uninsured, is a major problem. That makes this year’s Open Enrollment period for the Marketplaces particularly critical.

“While Republicans continue to seek to tear down the Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court, I continue my efforts with my Democratic colleagues to stand ready to defend and strengthen pre-existing conditions protections together with every other benefit and protection of the Affordable Care Act. House Democrats are prepared to remedy what the Supreme Court is likely to do to undermine the health, financial security and well-being of American families.”